Whitney's Top 10 Fitness Myths
#1 Exercise can erase my bad eating habits - This one is unfortunately a myth. You can’t out-exercise a bad diet. Diet is 80% of weight loss efforts. If you see people in the gym day after day looking the same month after month, well that is a sure sign their diet hasn’t changed. Many don’t realize the calories they take in each day and also over estimate the amount of calories they burn during sessions at the gym. And being consistent with your diet is key. I recommend keeping a food journal writing everything down that goes into your mouth; this includes all foods, drinks, and condiments, even gum. Almost everything has calories. You might be surprised how much food you’re actually taking in,
#2 I can reduce fat in one area - Unfortunately spot reduction is not possible. It all comes down to reducing body fat around those perfectly toned muscles. No matter how many crunches you do with 20% body fat, you will never have abs like someone with 8% body fat. To lose weight quickly, you have to incorporate a perfect mix of weight training, cardio while following a strict diet.
#3 I’ll burn only fat at my target heart rate - While cardio equipment often features graphs listing target heart rates for fat burning, the body is too complex for that to be accurate. In reality the only time you burn fat exclusively is when you are asleep, and even then it’s not much because of course you’re sleeping. Interval training, mixing low and high intensity cardio, is a great way to produce optimal results.
#4 Morning is the best time to work out - There's no single perfect time to get in those workouts. It depends on each person. If you find yourself constantly hitting the snooze button to postpone your early morning workout, you might want to rethink your timing. The ideal time to exercise is whenever you’ll actually do it. That could mean lunchtime, after work or later in the evening when the kids are in bed. If working out in the evening replaces sitting on the couch, watching TV and eating junk food, do it. For many people mornings are best because they’re less likely to be distracted later on. As the day goes on, excuses and duties tend to pile up and eventually workouts are missed altogether. So pick a time when you have the most energy, need the stress release or have the best chance of making exercise a habit.
#5 Lots of shakes are great for weight loss - If shakes make up the majority of your daily diet, you should rethink things. Many shakes are a mix of cheap protein, vitamins, sugar and coloring agents. It’s not that they’re inherently bad for you, but that they won’t keep you full. Whole foods have more fiber and take up more stomach volume, which keeps you feeling satisfied. They also require more digestive work, so you use more energy and keep your metabolism up. But if you just have to drink them, I suggest looking for high-end whey protein with low carbs and sugar and adding some fats like nuts or oil to increase satiety.
#6 Women should lift lower weights and do higher repetitions than men - This myth is common because women worry that lifting weights will bulk them up. However, because women’s testosterone is lower it’s hard to achieve extraordinary muscle growth like they may perceive. But in order to have a tight and toned physique as most women aspire lifting weights is necessary. Women may not be able to lift as much weight as men, but the typical three-pound dumbbells won’t work because the resistance is too low to create change in the muscle. Try structuring your workout doing six to eight repetitions with a weight that challenges you.
#7 You Burn the Most Calories During Your Workout - Many wonder what’s the best workout to lose fat. Here’s the thing – you might burn 200-500 calories or so during your workout, but you burn thousands, yes thousands of calories the rest of the day. So stop worrying about the amount of fat or calories you’re burning during your workout, and instead focus on having the best workout you can. Use your workouts to build that valuable muscle that will in turn continue burning fat for you at all hours of the day – even in your sleep.
#8 Pasta is the ultimate pre-workout meal - For endurance athletes, there may be some benefit to the idea of carb loading. With that recognition, carb loading has been misinterpreted as requiring the need for large amounts of carbohydrates in the meal eaten before exercise. Pasta is the most frequent culprit.
Overeating pasta does little in the way of providing energy and likely leads to fat storage. Carbohydrates can also cause people to feel tired. A better meal option would be a balance of lean protein (like turkey, ham, fish, chicken, and lean beef), whole-grain products (such as quinoa) and vegetables. This provides a wider range of nutrients and gives your body the fuel it needs to perform optimally.
#9 If the scale hasn’t budged, you’re not making progress - Don’t be a slave to the scale. A pound is a pound, whether it’s made up of muscle, fat or feathers. Density, not weight, is what matters. Picture a pound of lean ground hamburger you buy at the grocery store – that’s what a pound of muscle looks like. Double that size, and you have a good idea of how big a pound of fat is. Muscle is more compact than fat, so it takes up less space in your body. Which explains why the scale may not budge, even as your belt gets looser and clothes fit better.
#10 Losing Weight is a Physical Challenge - Of course losing weight is a physical challenge. You kill it in the gym several times a week. It’s not easy. However, the hardest aspect of losing weight is the mental part. Nearly everyone starts off a fitness program successfully following his or her workout program. The real challenge lies in the mental challenges. Do you give in to food temptations? Do you splurge on treats brought into the office, do you talk yourself out of going to the gym and convince yourself it’s ok? These are the real challenges of losing weight. The mind has a powerful influence over the body. If you take control of your mind, the weight loss will follow.